Happy KD Day!
Kevin Durant's Next Chapter was awesome
Amazing to see everyone getting excited to celebrate the 5th anniversary of Kevin Durant’s free agency signing with the Warriors. It’s almost like a national holiday!
I remember I was in bed. I woke up early to check Twitter to see if anything had been announced. Nothing.
To give some context, I’d just written an article declaring:
My wild guesses:
90% chance Bogut is traded for less salary, no matter which scenario
20% chance that KD comes to W’s
if KD doesn’t come, 90% chance W’s re-sign Barnes and Ezeli
I was sad. GSW had just blown the 3-1 lead a couple of weeks before. And do you think the national media and sports fans everywhere said, god damn, we were just blessed enough to get two of the greatest basketball playoff series back to back (GSW comeback over OKC including the first Game 6 Klay, and the Finals), hats off to everyone for incredible series? It takes great opponents to bring out the best in superstars, and that’s what sports is about?
It was just a big piling on of Neener Neener Ha Ha Losers. Some combination of people being mad that the uppity Warriors were daring to shoot threes on fast breaks and shot fakes and were ruining the neighborhood, and people just loving to gang up to bully people when they’re down and to re-establish the social order. So many weak 3-1 “jokes” which were mainly posting “hey let’s not forget GSW blew a 3-1 lead” at all opportunities.
I’ve never been so disappointed in NBA and sports fandom overall.
GSW got the brunt of the 3-1 “jokes” but KD got his share of criticism for blowing the same 3-1 lead, and he had that lingering “Mr. Unreliable” carping in OKC.
So, I knew if KD joined GSW it would be overpowered if everyone stayed healthy and could navigate egos. And at some level that would be bad for the sport. But I was quite ready for the sport to be ruined for a while. They just got gifted all-time great competition and settled for cheap jokes.
But it seemed SO unlikely. I thought KD was going back to OKC.
So there I was refreshing Twitter every 30 seconds.
Finally… the big July 4th signing.
Oh wait, wrong signing. Anyway, suddenly this tweet.
A Players Tribune article. No spoiler. How f’ing annoying is that???
So in retrospect, it wasn’t that long an article. But under the circumstances, it was ENDLESS. The thing took forever to read on my phone.
So I finally just typed in a page search for “Warriors”, said a prayer, and hit Search, and there it was buried in the middle.
I jumped out of bed and ran around the house. Then I had this thought:
So. A good day that was a bolt of lightning during a time of extreme sports misery that set off so much complaining from exactly the people I kind of wanted to be miserable.
And also, the start of the best, most beautiful basketball people will see for a long time, if you were lucky enough to be able to appreciate it.
If you really want to see the context leading up to the KD decision, it’s a fun time capsule to look at my contemporary articles and read the comments:
Explain One CBA: Warriors Free Agency, Salary Cap and Kevin Freakin Durant
Feel free to share any memories of KD’s decision or talk about whatever you want in the comments. Or better yet, go get some time with the family on this holiday!!
We lost a 'ship without him and lost a 'ship with him.
The one we lost without him, was due to LBJ crying/NBA FO-MEDIA accommodating with Green suspension for game 5, WHERE we lost BOGUT for rest of series/EZELI already out/Lee left previous year; spoiled the historic season.
The 'ship we lost with him, RAPTORS, he was hurt; we would have won, I believe, without him, had Klay not gotten hurt.
Frankly, I think we had a dynastic team after our second Finals run, that we gutted to get him, that had several runs in its makeup. We won fewer games each season he was here, and, Steph was the accommodating cog that stepped back to allow for KDs awesome one-on-one scoring while the rest of the team cleared out and watched; first season, when he was out for a month, Steph stepped up and secured us home court right up to the last game of the season. He was at his best, as was the team, when he scored 20, dished out 8 assists, and snagged 9 rebounds. We lost more games when he went for 40, than we won, absent Steph. Kerr had to reinvent the chemistry every year with half of the team leaving and coming. Of course, his departure left us scrambling, because outside of the core of STEPH/DRAY/KLAY we had little left from the dynastic team. With Klay's injuries, we have been scrambling; the dynastic run over.
KD is an extraordinary scorer/bball talent, his preferred role; not that he does not excel all-around, i.e., rebound, assist, defend, when it is asked of him/has to. He cannot be, however the cog that carried Warriors Ball, or, any other team he has so far played for; could not do it with Westbrook and Harden at OK, nor, at NETS.
I hope the Curry era warriors get a Last Dance-quality docuseries one day. It would be incredible.